La’Onf’s Third Annual Week of Nonviolence has concluded. But banners still proclaim and Iraqis will remember La’Onf’s slogans as they prepare for elections in the governorates:
• Express your valuable voice, and raise your head. You are Iraqi!
• The darkness disappears and the night passes. Nonviolence continues to be the alternative.
• This is the heavenly day that we want, when a person’s opinion is in their own hands.
We hope many of you found inspiration from the diverse, grassroots activities all over the country of Iraq, including some of the most conflicted areas of Kirkuk, Mosul, Al-Anbar province, Najaf, Baghdad, as well as the northern Kurdish provinces.
Activities included Sunni, Shia, Christian and other religious, as well as secular, groups. Many of the participants were children and young people, with strong leadership coming from women. We have compiled a summary of highlights of these activities, available on the Peaceful Tomorrows website. You can also see photos of these events in the La’Onf Solidarity Flikr Photo Gallery. And more on the La’Onf website.
Gratitude and Appreciation from Peaceful Tomorrows & La’Onf
It has been an extraordinary privilege for Peaceful Tomorrows to work with so many people and peace and justice organizations in the US to spread the word of La’Onf’s actions and vision. Today we received this message for all of you from La’Onf:
Gratitude and Appreciations
By the name of Iraqi Nonviolence Group, we thank all organizations who helped us with the international campaign . . . made by our friends. . . . Your support is a symbol for strengthening the relations between the organizations that work for peace and Nonviolence, for spreading Peace and erasing violence among nations including Iraqi people which are suffering because of occupation and violence.Hand in Hand for spreading Nonviolence Culture as an alternative for changes.
International Support for Nonviolence in Iraq
Your efforts here in the US have been joined by others around the world in support of the Iraqi nonviolence movement.
Many of you have signed onto the International Letter of Support, which has also been signed by Nobel Peace prize recipient Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland, Luisa Morgantini, Vice-President of the European Parliament, and Hans von Sponeck, former UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq.You can still join these voices and sign online.
And in Spain last Wednesday, Women In Black (Mujeres de Negro) held a vigil in the center of Madrid in front of the Spanish government offices.At the end of the day, the Iraqi Ambassador to Spain himself joined them to learn more about the message and activities of La’Onf.(Click here for a photo with the Iraqi Ambassador.)
Although the 2008 La’Onf Week of Nonviolence has concluded, the Iraqi nonviolence group is continuing its important work of rebuilding a united Iraq and spreading a culture of nonviolent change. In preparation for the as yet unscheduled provincial elections to be held by next January, La’Onf continues to call for an end to electoral violence with the slogan: Ballot boxes are our best salvation from violence and occupation.
Building on the outreach into communities all over Iraq during the Week of Nonviolence, La’Onf members are convening more seminars, conferences and workshops to create learning opportunities about the theory and practical application of nonviolence in Iraq. They want to set up nonviolence resource rooms across Iraq where people of all ages can come to read books and articles, and watch videos about the theory and practice of nonviolence.
And plans for 2009 are already being made. Many ideas have been discussed but one of the most inspiring is hosting a Social Forum on Nonviolence in Iraq! Who better to show us that “Another World Is Possible” than the people of Iraq who are coming together to struggle for a free, just and peaceful Iraq.
To end where we began, in the words of Ismaeel Dawood, a Founding Member of La’Onf:
Please, spread the message: there is not only violence in Iraq, there is something more; people are building peace and seeking real change. . . Today La’Onf exists within the polarized and dangerous political environment of Iraq where if you speak about resistance you are accused of supporting terrorists and advocating violence; but if you speak about nonviolence you are accused of supporting the occupation. La’Onf seeks to create a third way with its message that nonviolence is a tool to resist occupation, terrorism and corruption.